“FULL OF GRACE!” That is the term that the archangel Gabriel used when addressing Mary, in Luke 1:28. Notice that Gabriel does not call her by her name of Mary, but instead calls her “Full of Grace.” This new name for Mary indicates a change in her status in life, just like when Abram’s name was changed to Abraham, Sarai’s name was changed to Sarah, Jacob’s name was changed to Israel, and when Simon’s name was changed to Kephas (Rock), or Peter. The actual term in Greek (the original language that Luke was written in) is “kecharitomene,” which is the perfect passive participle of the Greek word “charitoo” (grace). In other words, kecharitomene means “You who have been graced.” And when you add the word “full” to kecharitomene, Gabriel is calling Mary by her new title of “You who have been filled with grace.” And as anyone knows, when you are full of anything, there is no room left over for anything else. Therefore, Mary, who was full of God’s grace, could not sin, or have the stain of original sin on her soul, because there was no room for any of that. Romans 6:14 says: “For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.” And while this is true for all of us sinners to a degree, it is fully true of Mary, who is not only under grace, but is FULL OF GRACE.
Why is all of this significant? Because some erroneous translations of Luke 1:28 say “highly favored daughter,” which takes God’s grace out of the picture. “Charitoo” means “Grace,” not “favor.” But this erroneous translation was no accident; it was by design to downgrade the role of Mary in salvation. Catholics know and believe that Mary was chosen to be the mother of Jesus precisely because she was already full of grace due to God’s design; Protestants believe that Mary was somehow lucky to be chosen as God’s mother, and was therefore “highly favored.” Some even go so far as to say that Mary was the “incubator” of Jesus, and that God would have just chosen some other virgin if Mary had said no. But that isn’t how God works. God said in Jeremiah 1:5 that he knew Jeremiah before he was born, and had appointed him as a prophet to the nations. The same goes for us all, who have a destiny in the Kingdom of God. Some of us accept that destiny and fulfill it, while others reject it for the pleasures of this world. Mary was predestined to be the mother of God from all eternity, and the prophecy in Isaiah 7:14 foretells that the savior would be born of a virgin.
So what does one say when Romans 3:23 is brought up – “since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God?” The Greek word used for “all” is “pas,” and while it can be used to mean “each and everyone,” it is also used to mean “some.” For example, 1 Corinthians 15:22 says: ”For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall ALL (PAS) be made alive.” We know this to be very true for all of those who fully accept Jesus and do his will, but we also know that not ALL (PAS) will. And in Rom 15:14 it says: ”And I myself also am persuaded of you, my brethren, that ye also are full of goodness, filled with ALL (PAS) knowledge, able also to admonish one another. “ But we know that not every Christian is filled with ALL (PAS) knowledge!
There is another example of scripture where the term “full of grace” is used, in Acts 6:8: And Stephen, full of grace and power, did great wonders and signs among the people.” But the Greek term for “full of grace” here is not “kecharitomene,” but rather, “pleres charitos.” “Pleres charitos” is a different tense of being filled with grace, and means “a temporary filling with grace at that point in time,” and does not equate to kechariomene,” which means “has been filled with grace.”
In other words, Mary was chosen by God from all time to be His mother (not His incubator) on earth, by being created full of grace. Original sin (Romans 5:12) is passed on from generation to generation through the womb, and just like Jesus was sinless, even from the womb, so was Mary created sinless by God in order to be the perfect, stainless Ark of the Covenant, who’s purpose in life is to hold the Word of God made flesh (for 9 months) and to be part of salvation history.